A day after his season ended virtually before it started with a torn left ACL, Washington Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels was, of course, downcast about 2008 but upbeat about playing next year.
“I knew it was pretty bad, but I didn’t know if I had hyperextended it or really hurt something,” said Daniels, who had missed just one game the past three years. “I really didn’t feel anything pop, but I grabbed it, and I had lot of pain. When I got up, I couldn’t put pressure on it. That’s when I realized it was probably worse than I thought.”
Then came the MRI.
“The look on the doctor’s face told me a lot,” Daniels said. “I asked him how serious it was, and he didn’t say nothing, so I knew right then it was bad news. When we finally got in the hall, he told me, and I broke down and cried a little bit.”
Daniels, who has never advanced beyond the divisional round in his 12 seasons, wants another chance on the field but is realistic about his future at age 35.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Daniels said. “Everybody says I’m 36 next year, but I’m still young. I can still play. I felt great going into this year. I’m going to train hard to come back. Whether it be playing or coaching, I don’t know. Hopefully, I get another opportunity to come back and finish my career on a high note, not end it this way. I really don’t, but if it does end this way, I’ve had a great career.”
Daniels’ coaches and teammates were emotional about his loss. End Demetric Evans said it was weird without Daniels leading the drills. Tackle Cornelius Griffin said he doesn’t cry often, but he shed tears about how unfair it was for his friend, who had worked so hard during the offseason.
“We’re going to miss a good player and a better man,” defensive line coach John Palermo said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a man and a leader like Phillip.”
Defensive coordinator Greg Blache has been coaching Daniels since 2000 and was especially troubled by his protege’s loss.
“You lose not just the player, but you lose the man, you lose the leader, you lose a friend,” Blache said. “It was one of the hardest injuries I’ve ever had to deal with. The more you know [him], the harder it is to accept because he brings so much to the table.”
Smoot’s quick return
Cornerback Fred Smoot, who injured his left ankle Sunday, returned Monday morning. Smoot’s ankle was taped, but it didn’t appear to bother him during drills.
“It swelled up on me yesterday, but [the medical staff] worked on it for me, and I told them I didn’t want to miss any of training camp or any practices,” Smoot said. “So they let me come out here on it, and I felt pretty good on it. It wasn’t any high ankle sprain or nothing like that. It just swelled up on me a bit.”
Coach Jim Zorn said Sunday he expected Smoot to miss a few days.
Zorn said he told Smoot, “‘Give me some of that stuff you rubbed on your ankle. My ankle is killing me. I want a little bit of that.’ He was out there going 100 percent.”
Taking it easy
Five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels isn’t taking any contact yet as he recovers from elbow surgery last month.
“They’re holding me out from going against any of the defensive guys, but I’m doing the bag work and all the footwork stuff and conditioning on my own,” said Samuels, who isn’t sure when he will be allowed to participate in contact drills….
Rookie safety Kareem Moore was held out for precautionary reasons after warmups. Moore, a sixth-round draft pick from Nicholls State, had offseason knee surgery.